So I pretty much had the craziest Monday of my life. It was long, involved, looooong, and there was a great deal of pain present, not just mine. Here's what went down…

I had an appointment scheduled with a pain clinic for 8:30 am on Monday. I couldn't get anyone else to drive me, so M left the ren faire she was working early Sunday evening to crash on our couch and drive me up early Monday morning.

3:30 am-- We hit the road in C's truck. M is driving while I am filling out the 27 pages of New Patient paperwork I printed out the night before. (I never got a packet in the mail.) A few hours later, I doze intermittently while M keeps driving.

6:30 am-- I snap awake in time to scream as M slams on the brakes and hits the car in front of us. Traffic just kind of… stopped… but we didn't. At least, not in time. The car in front of us was pushed into the car in front of them, and was totaled. The car at the far front just had a little bit of a smashed bumper, and they were able to drive away. M was injured in the accident with soft tissue damage to her wrist and ankle but refused treatment because she had to get me to my pain doc appointment. She helped me to mix up my emergency steroid shot and I stabbed myself in the leg for the injection, to avoid going into adrenal shock. An hour and a half of procedures and such later, I took over driving the now snub-nosed truck and we made it to the pain clinic with 15 minutes to spare.

8:15 am-- The secretary has no record of me in their system, and insists that I have no appointment with them. I am devastated, baffled, and slightly upset as they were the ones that called me to set up the appointment. We go outside and I proceed to fall apart emotionally. It's now been about 12 hours since my last pain killer (which was only 1/2 of one since I had been on half-doses that week, trying to make them stretch), and I have no option for getting more. M has an idea, and we pull up the phone number of the pain clinic that the neuros initially referred me to but had turned me away, and sure enough… I took us to the wrong place. It's now time for my appointment, and we're 1.5 hours away. They agree to try to fit me in at some point in the day, and we jump in the truck and book it over there. (In my defense, I have been drugged up on sleeping pills the past week and a half-ish, and the difference between Arizona Pain Institute and Arizona Pain Specialists really isn't that great. I think my confusion is justifiable.)

12:30 pm-- I'm now laying on the floor of the pain clinic, since I can't handle being upright any longer. They take me back to a room so I can lay on a bed thingy at least while I wait for the doctor, and I finally break down into tears from the pain. The nurse comes in, takes my vitals and information, and not too long after the doc comes in. It was a good appointment, and he takes me seriously. He is really happy to hear what rheum I am seeing and says that he's one of the best. He feels that there is something systemic, possibly autoimmune, that is causing the scope and severity of my pain beyond just fibro. (Finally, a doctor that agrees with me!!!) He prescribes me my regular pain killers along with aqua therapy, but I have to pass a urine test before I get my prescription. Makes sense. I make it to the bathroom before throwing up from pain, but then realize that they gave me the sample cup for some other woman. They bring the the right cup, I make it to the bathroom before throwing up (again), and pass my urine test. Sign a contract for responsible usage, get my script, and hit the road in search of a pharmacy.

???? pm-- The CVS down the street doesn't have the meds I need, but they suggest the Walgreens across the street. We get over there, they have the meds, but it'll be like, 30 minutes. While we wait, we fill up the gas tank and hit the Starbuck's for some tea (me) and coffee (M). Keep in mind that M is damaged this whole time, and is getting increasingly stiffer and sorer from the accident. She's still driving me around like a champ, though, limping along beside me and my walker, and even pushing me once or twice. I can barely walk at this point, and my pain has been at a 9+ for hours. I've only cried a little since leaving the doctor's office, but it's getting harder and harder to handle my pain.

As M is getting in the truck after pumping gas, we're approached by some white guy who claims that he's a Marine and served _____ places for ______ months and has $1600 in a bank account, but the bank doesn't have any branches around here and he's going to get it transferred to his wife's Wells Fargo account tomorrow but he doesn't have any money today and he needs to get gas in his car so he can go pick up his four year old daughter from daycare and they charge $20 for every 30 minutes you're late and can we spare some money to help him and he'll even give us his driver's license to hold until he pays us back? I say no, M says no, and he begins to protest. We tell him we don't live here, we're leaving in a few minutes, and he asks if we have an address he can send it to? I'm just like, "Nah, bro. We can't help you. No." He gives up and goes away, and M and I talk about all the inconsistencies in his story, which are many. I knew he was trying to scam us right away when he began swamping jus with unnecessary details. That's a pretty sure indicator that someone is lying to you, trying to convince you of the "truth" of their story.

We make it back to Walgreens and get my pills, which were cheaper than I expected. (Hallelujah!) As we are walking/limping/shuffling away from the pharmacy counter, I suddenly felt very faint and knew that I was going to pass out. I said so to M, "I'm gonna pass out," and knelt down with my head resting on the walker seat. After that, it's kinda fuzzy. I guess I slumped over and ended up on the floor with my face super pale followed by flushing, and was more or less unresponsive. (I remember bits and pieces, but most of this is what M told me and I just kind of gut feel that it's right.) A lady who was standing in the aisle came over and helped M get my sweater partially off so that I could cool down because I was very warm and sweating, and they took the pillow off of my walker seat and put it under my head. The lady in the white sweater held my hands and massaged them to get the oxygen back into them (my hands and face were numb, and I was hyperventilating some I guess) while M pulled my purse off of me. The male pharmacist came over and was also holding my hands (how many hands did I have?!), and another female employee was there as well, I think. Everyone was patronizing me, telling me what a good job I was doing and to keep breathing steadily, deep breaths, in through my nose and out through my mouth. They told me to squeeze their hands if I needed to, as hard as I needed, and as I was writhing on the floor they kept telling me to lay however was comfortable for me. The pharmacist told me to go to my happy place and I laughed. He said that his happy place would be under a race car, scraping off mud. I laughed again and told him that sounded like a crappy happy place. He said something about how he loves to race, anything involving that would be his happy place.

By this time, someone had called 911 and blocked off the aisle so that no curious onlookers could crowd around. (I never opened my eyes through all of this, so I don't know what anyone or anything looked like.) At some point, M tells me that I started screaming. Loudly. I hurt, okay? I know that I broke down and started crying, but apparently I was screaming/wailing very loudly while doing so. I don't recall that. I did wave my medic alert bracelet at them at one point, and they were questioning M as to whether or not we were together. She said, "Yes, we're together. She's one of my best friends!" (That's heartwarming to me ^_^) I somehow told them that the meds in the database for my bracelet weren't entirely up to date (they are changing so much and so rapidly lately!), so M went out to the truck for my big binder of medical info. I am so glad I have that thing!! I think the EMTs were there by the time she got back, but they wouldn't talk to her about what was going on. They wanted to hear it from me, probably to know that I wasn't delirious or anything.

I started getting my breath back and becoming more aware of my surroundings when the EMTs were working on me, so I was able to answer their questions. One of them asked me if I had any medical conditions, and I laughed at him. Then he asked me what medications I was on and I laughed at him again. I mean, I told him, but I laughed first. They got me sitting up, and then standing, and it was decided that I would just take a pain killer and try to make it back to our town. Since my case is so complex, with so many overlapping conditions, there really wasn't much they could do for me besides take me in to the hospital which I did NOT want to do. (We're kinda tight on funds right now, with all this traveling to the big city for my appointments, and ambulance rides and hospital visits are expensive. Not to mention the fact that we wrecked the truck that morning, too…) The EMT guy was like, "We can take you in, but you know your body and we don't. Do you think you'll be okay with just taking a pain killer? Is that what you think you need?" M and I agreed that it probably was, so I got them to push me out to the truck on my walker so M wouldn't have to, since I didn't really want to try my luck walking again. Somehow I ended up with a bottle of water that I drank, but it had no lid.

When the ambulance was at the crash scene that morning, I had insisted that M go with them to get checked out since she was obviously in a great deal of pain. She was so emphatic that she had to stay with me to get me to my appointment, and she was so cocky about how it was a good thing that she didn't go with them that morning or else I would have been dealing with all of that by myself and obviously I needed her. Yeah, yeah, yeah… lol. When the EMTs showed up, I waved vaguely in the direction of M's voice and said, "You're supposed to be the one going with the ambulance, f***er!" (I have found that swearing makes me feel better, but I think I should cut down on the habit since I have been doing it some very inappropriate places lately… such as when my mental capacity is diminished and/or I'm in a great deal of pain. Last time I got a steroid and pain killer shot at my doctor's office, I dropped a very loud f-bomb because it hurt SO. BAD. I thought it was in my head, but C was laughing at me and informed me that it was, well, out loud. Oops.)

The EMTs asked me what my pain level was at once they got me standing, and I immediately answered, "10. Wait, no… 9.5. I'm saving my 10." That day without meds was definitely the most pain I've gone through yet with this whatever-the-heck-disease-this-is. Every time I have to go without pain meds, it's worse. Now though, I've got consistent, established care with a pain doc and I won't have to worry about trying to scramble for meds. Well, I won't have to worry if I stick to the regimen of 4 a day. I know now that I can handle extreme amounts of pain, especially if I have sleeping pills on hand. I just know that I can't expect to have much of a social, professional, or personal life for a while yet. Not on only 4 pain killers a day. I'm not working anymore (which is also contributing to our financial crunch), so that pressure is off a little… I can pretty much just stay in bed. Not that I want to, but I gotta lower my expectations so that I can actually mentally make it through on 4 pills a day, without such a strong temptation to take more. I rationed out the correct amount of pills into my pill organizer and gave the big bottle of pills to C to hide. I told him that I'll come to him on refill day and ask for it back, then when I've refilled for the week I'll give it back to him to hide away again. Seeing the small amount of pills I have for every day will help me be less free with my consumption, because when I have the big bottle I'm digging my pills out of it's easy to think, "Oh I have plenty left… It won't hurt to take one extra right now, 'cause I'm really hurting…" Well, I have to realize that I'm pretty much always "really hurting" now, and I can't escape that.

Anyway, we got me packed into the truck and M drove us back home. The closer we got, the more pain she was in, so I stayed awake to chat with her and distract her from her pain (and mine). At my insistence, we met her mom at the ER as soon as we got into town and I left M with her. Guy M literally ran over to the hospital from his girlfriend's house (his ride fell through) and he drove me home in C's truck. He also spent the evening with me until C got home, which was nice. M finally got out of the ER at about 3 this morning (we got her checked in at the front desk about 7:30 pm), but fortunately she's only banged and bruised up. She was having chest pains even before we began our trip and could hardly eat or drink a thing the whole time, but that was determined to be an esophageal issue, and she will be following up with her primary care for that. (She had me worried! I was like, heart problems? Noooo!) The officer at the scene of the crash was talking to M and I just before we left the scene, and after I told him that I had wanted M to go get checked out he looked at me and said, "Why is she driving if you're not in any pain?" I was like, "Ohhhh, I'm in pain! I'm always in pain." It was funny. There were so many funny moments scattered throughout the craziness of the day, but the moral of the whole story is that M is a badass and an amazingly loyal caretaker and friend. We've decided that in the interest of simplicity, we're simply going to identify as sisters from here on out. It's just easier that way.

C took the news of his crushed truck surprisingly well, but he's definitely distressed about it. He had been planning to pay off a significant portion of the loan on it with his tax return, and also to put a chunk of money towards a new car for me since mine is set to crap out on us at any time. (It makes him nervous to be driving my car around, since he's afraid that it'll break down on him on the way to work.) Instead, he'll be paying the insurance deductible to get the truck fixed, as it's leaking oil in addition to the body work it needs. I'm really glad that it got us through all the running around we needed to do. We also have had to give up on the idea of the Celebirthsary that we were hoping to do, but I'm not as devastated as I might be since that was a tenuous hope at best to begin with. He wasn't sure we'd have the funds for it even before this happened. Guy M said something about how M was distraught over the idea of us not being able to have our Celebirthsary and how they were going to make it happen or some such, but I don't know if C will accept that. He has a proud streak… but I'm not above accepting charity! LOL. I'm just happy we got to go to one ren faire, even if it wasn't my favorite one. I knew that even if we got up there we wouldn't be able to do a nice dinner or go to the adult toy store like I wanted, but we'd at least have a decent hotel room and a day at the faire. But maybe I can put together a stay-cation for us here? Something, at least. I mean, our first wedding anniversary… it's kind of a big deal. Plus you've got our birthdays on either side of it, hence the Celebirthsary.

Oh, for those of you who haven't seen it, this video is the origin of the term "Celebirthsary". It's hilarious because C and I are so much like that couple. I mean, I don't go to trick C, but I love to celebrate anything, whereas C doesn't celebrate anything if he doesn't have to. The man doesn't even want a Valentine's card. He told me not to get him a card for anything, every, any occasion. Hah. Like I'm going to follow that rule!

So yeah. There you have it. My longest, craziest Monday ever. I'm still recovering from it (pretty much haven't budged from the couch), and I almost passed out again this morning, but I laid down in time and got it under control. I ordered myself a small pizza this afternoon and ate the whole thing by myself in one sitting. It was delicious and I totally savored it… until I started throwing it up several hours later. M said he totally knew that was going to happen. I guess I need to stop eating pizza. This is the 3rd one inside of 2 weeks… and I'm allergic to a lot of the stuff that makes it up. If I want to be kind to my body, I'll knock it off. But oh… I want to be kind to my taste buds, too! I figured I deserved an indulgence after a day like that… but maybe next time I'll indulge in something else. Like cheesecake. Except I don't know of any place that delivers cheesecake...

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